Several weeks ago, I changed my default browser from Google-chrome to Firefox. Here's why.
I had been using Google-chrome for over a year and had been a pretty happy user. I liked the Google-chrome user interface and Google had clearly put a lot of thought into how a user interacts with their browser. Neat touches were everywhere.
I did have some niggling privacy concerns, after all Google-chrome is created by the biggest data mining company in the world, but I figured Google had too much to lose by ignoring privacy in a browser. That is especially so for a browser whose source code is available to all.
Then I discovered that Google-chrome forbids the Ghostery add-on from blocking the Doubleclick network. Ghostery is a popular add-on that prevents third-party sites from monitoring your browsing, and Doubleclick is a monitoring and advertising network owned by Google.
Apparently, Google has no problem with bending the privacy rules to advantage itself.1 Time to give Firefox a go.
I hadn't used Firefox seriously for years and was pleasantly surprised. It starts fairly quickly and is not a huge memory pig like Google-chrome. It is a little plain out of the box, but some add-ons soon fixed that.
A few months later, this is what I am running. For privacy:
- adblock-plus, to block ads
- ghostery, to block third-party cookies and scripts
- requestpolicy, to block any third-party reference
- refcontrol, to control the referer header so that my browsing history doesn't leak to third parties, and
- cookiemonster, to control cookies.
Then I wanted to enhance Firefox to give a good user experience like Google-chrome. These plugins did the trick:
- add to searchbar, add new search engines to the search toolbar
- customizable shortcuts, create your own keystroke shortcuts
- duplicate in tab context menu, duplicate a tab
- firegestures, similar to vimium but light-weight, uses Vim keystrokes to control the browser,
- open link in ..., adds extra options to the right-click context menu, and
- sessionmanager, save and load sessions by name, and keeps a history.
I now have the same facilities in Firefox that I had in Google-chrome, plus it uses about a third the memory and addresses all my privacy niggles.
(I've used the exact name of the add-ons above so you can search for them easily.)